Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Alfred's Pathologically Obsessed Mind

"[Donna was] kneeling at her father's head, covered in blood, Kim kneeling at Brendon's head."
"I'll never forget her pleading with me."
"How will I ever forget having to be the person that tells her that her husband, the father of her three children and soon to be fourth, is gone from this world?"
Janessa McCabe, neighbour; emergency-room nurse

"I grew up in a house, just misery."
"All the drinking, the fighting, the sickness. There wasn't a second of happiness."
Alfred Vuozzo, convicted murderer, Montague, Prince Edward Island

"He wasn't really talkative, unless you got to know him. He really appreciated when people came and visited him at work, because the nights get long. But I think he was a bit of a loner."
"He'd said, you know, 'Most of my friends have gone on to have families ... or they've died on me."
Sheila Bourgeois, Montague marina supervisor

"He has no close friends and when asked he describes that his best friend is his dog."
"When arrested, Mr. Vuozzo's greatest concern was the impact that his actions would have on this mother and the loss of contact that he would have with his dog."
"Such individuals ... are generally unforgiving and moralistic, and tend to brood or obsess over issues. Mr. Vuozzo reports that 'I dwell on the past' and acknowledges that he becomes preoccupied by things and has trouble letting things go."
"He began to rationalize his intent, indicating that he felt 'my sister would have wanted me to'."
Dr. Peter Theriault, forensic psychiatrist
The McGuigan family has provided this photo of Brent McGuigan, 68 and his son, 39-year-old Brendon McGuigan.
It began as many such tragedies do; a man had too much to drink and was alcohol-impaired yet drove his vehicle in such a manner as to endanger the lives of others. On this occasion on the evening of November 19, 1970, The Vuozzo family was driving home along a rural road on Prince Edward Island when a half-ton truck ran a stop sign just as the van with the Vuozzo family was in the process of passing through the intersection. The truck hit the van and nine-year-old Kathy Vuozzo was catapulted through the windshield.

Alfred Vuozzo, the father of the little family was utterly traumatized by the outcome of the accident. The scene that included his two-year-old son named after him, saw his son safe in his wife's arms, but Kathy's body lay in the ditch and a doctor soon pronounced her dead. "I came up to the intersection and I just seen lights coming and a vehicle coming", a coroner's inquest was informed by Alfred Vuozzo Sr. Herb McGuigan was the name of the driver of the truck. He was alive, found lying on the floor of his truck, beer caps surrounding him.

"I opened the door and he asked me, 'Had there been an accident? There was a strong odour of alcohol and his eyes were watery, and he gave me the impression that he knew little of what happened", recounted Constable Robert Thorne, at the inquest. And indeed, Mr. McGuigan pleaded not guilty and went to trial in 1971. He was sentenced to nine months in prison and a driving ban was instituted for a year. The man died in 1975 of causes having nothing to do with the accident.

As it happened, the two families both regularly attended church, but different churches. Fr. Gerard Chaisson officiates as pastor at both of the churches and knew both families. He is hard put to understand how so many years later, the two-year-old brother of the little girl who died in the accident nursed a grievance so mind-consuming that he would plan revenge, to expunge from his mind the thought that his sister could find no rest in her grave until justice was done. And he planned to deliver justice, of a truly warped kind.

On the evening of August 20, 2014, Alfred Vuozzo Jr. felt the time had come for him to manipulate the rage that had consumed him all his life into action, convinced his sister's spirit called him to avenge her. He parked outside the house where he knew that the son of the man who had slammed his truck into the Vuozzo family van so long ago, lived. Memory of his own father succumbing to total dysfunction, becoming an alcoholic, unable to hold a job, being institutionalized for a psychiatric illness brought on by the tragedy fuelled his unappeasable rage.

As it happened that evening, Brendan McGuigan, grandson of long-dead Herbert was visiting his father, Brent McGuigan 68. His mother Marie, Brent's wife, was in the next room. She hadn't noticed that someone had entered her house through an unlocked door. She would soon know, however, that Albert Vuozzo Jr., a spectre from the past, was that man, and he fatally shot her 39-year-old son and 68-year-old husband, expending a total of thirteen bullets.

"He was a good father, and a good grandfather and a good husband", Marie said later of her husband. "We never had anything to do with the Vuozzos. We paid for it all anyway", she grieved. From the McGuigan house, Alfred Vuozzo drove to his brother's house in Charlottetown to tell him "I did it, I got them", before leaving. He left to return to the house in Montague which he shared with his mother. In the meanwhile, his brother Jeremy had called police informing them of what his brother had done. And when police arrived at the Vuozzo home, Alfred greeted them, guiding them to where he had hid the weapon and a pair of gloves.

Brendon, the grandson of the man whose drunk driving had set off this generational tragedy, was about to become a father for the fourth time. His wife Kim was pregnant. She gave birth to another baby girl whom the father of the child would never see. Kim was left to raise her family of four children alone. It was a complicated birth, one where doctors "nearly lost" both mother and child. "Some like to say this was a family feud. It wasn't. We had no idea who this man was or even what he looks like. I know Brendon never heard the story of the accident 44 years ago", said Kim.

"As I held her [her new baby daughter] in my arms for the first time and looked into her innocent eyes, I could see Brendon. I was so angry. He should have been with me. Many times I think that I can't do this without him", the mother of the four fatherless children stated bitterly. "There were no tensions between the Vuozzo family and the McGuigan family", explained Fr. Ferard. "I believe the tensions were in (Alfred's) mind."

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